The son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos said yesterday that the "Marcos" name - and the human rights violations and plunder cases associated with it - are unlikely to sully his bid to become the Philippines' next vice-president.
"I consider it to be my greatest blessing," Mr Ferdinand Marcos Jr said at a forum, when asked about his family name being a burden as he campaigns for the election to be held in May next year.
Mr Marcos Jr, nicknamed "Bongbong", said: "I still consider myself the luckiest person, being a Marcos… I had a privileged childhood because I'm a Marcos. I went to the best schools because I'm a Marcos. Now that I'm in politics, I enjoy the support of many, many people because I'm a Marcos."
On the thousands of human rights abuses committed under his father's regime, he said they had already been settled in court.
The elder Marcos ruled the Philippines from 1965, until a "people power" revolt in 1986 toppled him, sending him and his family into exile. He died in Hawaii in 1989.
"If you talk to people, they're not concerned about that any more. Filipinos are concerned about their lives today," Mr Marcos Jr added.
But human rights groups on Tuesday pledged to wage a campaign to derail his bid for the vice-presidency.
A BOON, NOT A BURDEN
I had a privileged childhood because I'm a Marcos. I went to the best schools because I'm a Marcos. Now that I'm in politics, I enjoy the support of many, many people because I'm a Marcos.
MR FERDINAND MARCOS JR
"Bongbong Marcos' candidacy is a clarion call not only for the countless victims of martial law, but for all freedom-loving Filipinos to wage the strongest struggle against the resurrection of the Marcos type of rapacious and fascist rule," Mr Bonifacio Ilagan, vice-chairman of Selda, an organisation of former martial law prisoners, told Agence France-Presse.
In 1995, a Hawaii court awarded a historic US$1.9 billion to nearly 10,000 victims of human rights abuses during the elder Marcos' rule under martial law, which was imposed from 1972 to 1981.
The younger Marcos has not been directly linked to any crime committed by his father, but he has been a vocal defender of the regime and martial law.
Addressing accusations that his family plundered billions of dollars from state coffers, he said: "These things have already been decided. To analyse them, to make judgments about what happened, belongs to historical scholars.
"I'm not a historical analyst. I'm a public servant. All I look at is what people want from a public servant."